Image by Logan Swayze
This fall, the very popular Mountain Bike Operations program at Capilano University turns 10. That’s right, the certificate program that runs for eight months of the year on the world class trails of the Sunshine Coast will celebrate its first decade.
And what a decade it has been
The program began in 2006 to look at filling a need to develop well-rounded professionals who have sound knowledge and skills in risk management, trail design and building, teaching and guiding, writing, event management and marketing in the fast growing mountain bike tourism industry.
Since that time, about 150 graduates—some from as far away as Scotland, Singapore and all over the U.S—are now working all over the planet in mountain bike tourism-related professions.
One of the many success stories is the recent building of the Coast Gravity Park (CGP) on the Sunshine Coast, a project designed and built by the Coastal Crew: three young riders dedicated to designing and building trails all over the world. One of them is 2007 Mountain Bike graduate, Kyle Norbraten. There are now five more alumni working at the CGP on a regular basis.
A word from our grads
Mountain Bike grads can be found leading mountain bike adventures, teaching skills to beginner to advanced riders at local bike parks, starting up their own adventure tourism businesses and designing and building community trails. We asked a few grads about their experience in the program. Here’s what they had to say:
“Mountain biking has been such a large part of my life since I started racing when I was 12, so I felt the Mountain Bike Operations course was a great choice for me! Since completing the program I’ve spent my last three summers teaching adult and children’s groups in the Whistler Bike Park. My days off have been spent riding the local trails around Whistler with friends and the odd solo ride before and after work. I have had nothing but exciting experiences since completing the MBO program! Thanks for the great knowledge, awesome opportunities and frazzled looks I receive when people asked what I studied in university. This program rocks!
“My year at MBO was without a doubt one of the greatest years of my life and the best time I’ve ever had while at school. Every single challenge I encountered through the program was a learning experience that I could not have found otherwise. I participated as a beginner level rider, and can now attest to that being a super great possibility for future students who may be in a similar situation. MBO was not just school for me, however, it was a huge adventure and such a wicked experience that I would absolutely recommend. If I had not done MBO, I would 100% not be where I am today—working at the sickest bike park (Coast Gravity Park – which you should probably check out if you haven’t already) with the raddest people I’ve ever met. I am so unbelievably grateful for where I am now and the possibilities for my future. I literally had no idea someone could love their job so much until I found one worth loving.
—Sarah de Boucier
“I learned a lot about the mountain bike industry from many points of view and gained a ton of knowledge from the instructors who have a vast knowledge of what they’re passionate about. I’ve been working full time at the Whistler Bike Park for the past three summers. I have also worked in the Yukon teaching backcountry mountain biking to young army cadets through Cabin Fever Adventures. The MBO program directly impacted what I am doing now as it gave me the confidence and skills required to work as an instructor both in the Bike Park and in the backcountry.”
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The Mountain Bike Operations program is still accepting applications for the fall. Don’t miss out on this special experience to be a part of history as MBO enters its 10th year. Follow us on Facebook! #MBOturns10
Submitted by Lydia Watson, convenor and instructor, Mountain Bike Operations program